Bread Baking: Sweet Potato Bread

[Photograph: Donna Currie]

When I go to a grocery store, after I've found the things I came for, I always scout around for interesting new ingredients. When a new ingredient is something I can use in bread, I silently "squeee" a little bit before I toss my prize into my cart.

My latest find was at Whole Foods and the ingredient was at the same time exotic and familiar. Sweet potato flour. Squeeeee!


Tips on Making this Recipe...
by hand-kneading »
in a stand mixer »
with a food processor »

I've used white potatoes in bread, and I've used instant mashed potato flakes. And I've used winter squash purée. For no good reason, I've never used mashed sweet potatoes in bread, but this was even better. This is flour, so it's shelf stable. And since it's dry there's no need to make late adjustments for the unknown amount of liquid in mashed potatoes.

White potatoes make bread fluffy but they add no flavor. When I added squash to bread dough, it made the bread a very pale orange, and the flavor was very subtle. But like dried herbs that are stronger than fresh ones, the dried sweet potatoes in the flour added a very distinctive flavor. The color wasn't a bright orange like my double-tomato flatbreads. Instead, it was an earthy orange-tinted light brown.

I let this dough rise twice, but you could skip that second rise and proceed directly to forming and baking. I used active dry yeast here, but instant would be fine as well. I used the same snipping method for slashing this bread as I did for my Dressed-Up White Bread.

About the author: Donna Currie has been cooking for fun and writing for pay since the days when typewritten articles traveled by snail mail. When she combined those talents in a food column for a newspaper in her area, she realized that writing about food is almost as much fun as eating. She most recently launched the blog Cookistry and has now joined the Serious Eats team with a weekly column about baking.

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Bread Baking: Sweet Potato Bread

About This Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3/4 cup sweet potato flour
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter

Procedures

  1. 1

    In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine water, yeast, and sugar, and set aside until it becomes frothy, about 10 minutes.

  2. 2

    Add sweet potato flour and bread flour and knead until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl and becomes smooth and elastic. It will still be a little bit sticky.

  3. 3

    Add the salt and butter and continue kneading until the the butter is completely incorporated. It may still be a little sticky, but don't worry about that. The elasticity is the important thing to look for.

  4. 4

    Form the dough into a rough ball, drizzle with a bit of olive oil to coat, and put it back into the bowl (or a clean one if you prefer). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside to rise until doubled, about an hour.

  5. 5

    When the dough has doubled, punch it down, form it into a ball again, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set it aside to rise until doubled again, about 40 minutes.

  6. 6

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and sprinkle a baking sheet with some cornmeal.

  7. 7

    When dough has doubled, lightly flour your work surface and knead the dough briefly, then form it into your preferred shape. Put it on your prepared baking sheet (or you could use a loaf pan, if you prefer), cover it with plastic wrap, and let it rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.

  8. 8

    Slash the dough as desired. I used the same scissors-snip method that I used for my Dressed-Up White Bread, in a different pattern. A plain slash across the top would be just fine.

  9. 9

    Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes until browned. Cool completely on a rack before cutting.

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